Should You Build Your Website on the HubSpot CMS?

Are you thinking you should build your website on the HubSpot CMS? In this post we’ll cover five key points to consider.


HubSpot refers to it’s platform to host and build your website as a COS, a Content Optimization System. On the other hand, other popular systems such as WordPress refer to their platform as a CMS, a Content Management System. HubSpot creatively uses the word “optimization” as they have mechanisms to help with SEO and personalization of content. These are not differentiating factors though – and you have to pay for the ability to personalize your content. For example, with SEO, there are readily available, and free, SEO plugins such as Yoast SEO or All in One SEO Pack, that you could easily add to your WordPress instance to start optimizing content. Regarding personalization, you can only do it if you’re using everything HubSpot. It might be wise to choose a solution to personalize content that is independent of the underlying platform. For example, Lead Liaison provides SiteEngage™, to create dynamic website content, which can be deployed on any CMS. If you talked to HubSpot, they’d pitch you on their COS having everything in it to handle marketing activities, like email marketing, social media, CTAs, and more. If you didn’t use the HubSpot CMS, and opted for something like WordPress instead, HubSpot would tell you that you’ll end up needing a bunch of other plug-ins to make your website work with marketing activities. Well, that’s not true. What you really need is a good marketing platform that can do all of that for you. Case in point, with something like Lead Liaison’s Lead Management Automation™ platform, it includes all the facilities to successfully track inbound marketing and deliver omni-channel outbound marketing, without the need to install plug-ins. Regardless of your CMS, you’ll have the flexibility to launch marketing campaigns and embed forms and CTAs into your CMS.

CMS Market Share

hubspot cms market shareAs of this post, WordPress had 59.2% market share, followed by Joomla! with 6.9% and Drupal with 4.7% according to HubSpot CMS had .2%. That’s not a lot of market share that’s been gained in 11+ years (HubSpot CMS available since 2006). I’m not a betting man, but I wouldn’t put my money into a system that is not widely used, supported by a single company (not a community), has limited choices for plug-ins/integrations, and costs a lot of money.

Proprietary vs. Open Source

Proprietary systems such as HubSpot’s CMS are going to be expensive, and restrictive. You’ll easily end up spending 10s of thousands of dollars on a proprietary platform. The advantage of a proprietary system is that the provider, HubSpot in this case, controls the entire experience. They can make sure everything works well together. On the other hand, a system like WordPress is open source, meaning there’s no charge to use it. You might spend $40 to $60 on a theme, but you’ll have millions of plug-ins. WordPress is the CMS that runs more than 25% of all websites across the world! According to ManageWP, you’d be in good company with sites like The New York Times, National Geographic, Forbes, etc. using WordPress. The number of available choices to offered by an open source system vs. a proprietary system are overwhelming.

Choices, Locked Down or Freedom to Move

With over 50,800 plug-ins and growing daily, 72 translations of WordPress, average of $50 per hour for developers, and thousands of themes, you’ve got choices with open source systems like WordPress. With a proprietary system, choices are limited only to what the vendor provides or the vendors community provides. With .2% market share, don’t hope for much.

This statement from The Sales Lion does a good job of summarizing migration challenges if you’re on the HubSpot CMS and want to get off of it:

Both platforms are completely independent, and therefore there is no easy way to migrate from one to another. There is no simple export process to easily move your Hubspot site to WordPress or vice versa.

If you are moving from Hubspot to WordPress, you’ll have to build each page again, through a copy and paste process. CSS styling will have to be duplicated to match the styling from the previous site. This can be done more easily by building a theme for WordPress that matches that of your HubSpot site.

On the other hand, migrating between WordPress themes is easy! All of your data is stored in the same database. Changing the themes is as easy as making a few button clicks in the UI. The ability to choose between 1,000s of different themes is great. There’s no doubt your website will need a facelift every 5 to 10 years. Are you ready to easily make the change?

The Bottom Line

You definitely have a choice. If you want to have a sense of ownership of your website, go with an open source system. To quote about WordPress vs. HubSpot:

The interface of the WordPress is so simple that you don’t have to rely on other to make changes or fix a tiny error for you. You can do it on your own this way. You are in full control of your site and your wallet.

I’m sure you’d be devastated if you went down the path of using the HubSpot CMS and didn’t like it. What would you do then? Probably not much, because HubSpot would own your entire site. It’s kind of like owning your own storefront, or leasing from someone else. If you had the chance to own your store front, you could do whatever you want. If you don’t, the landlord has complete control. Let’s just hope they don’t kick you out. In summary, make sure you set yourself up for maximum flexibility. Have a little diversity with your marketing, don’t put all of your eggs in a single basket, and make a good decision for the long run.

Remember When your Marketing Automation Company Focused on Marketing?

What is a Vendors Focus on Marketing Automation?It seems that the trend in the Marketing Automation Industry is for companies to become a Jack of All Trades. We all know how that story ends.  If you don’t, please ask the next guy you see with a Member’s Only Jacket and Blackberry.

There are ways to tell your Marketing Automation “partner” is out for their best interest and not yours:

  1. They tout their CMS, even though 86% of the market uses WordPress, Drupal or Joomla.  Good luck getting apps for that CMS, and if you do… they are going to make a pretty penny off you.  If you don’t believe me, go look for apps in the Blackberry store.  People don’t develop apps for closed environments with small market share.
  2. They sell you on their CRM tool as an advantage of buying their Marketing Automation Platform.  Awesome!  Now you get to tell sales that they are locked into a substandard CRM because your Marketing Automation provider decided that it would be more profitable for them to sell a CRM than to integrate with the best players in the space.  Not a good business decision, and a horrible way to go about aligning sales and marketing efforts.
  3. They only offer one Email Service Provider.  All-in-One solution providers LOVE locking you into their ecosystem.  Even the best email solution providers today, may not be the best ESP’s tomorrow.  Never buy from a company that is owned by an ESP (they are the copier salespeople of the industry) as they have not prepared for technical Armageddon.
  4. SEO and Marketing Automation are two very different beasts, with two unique skillsets.  Your marketing department probably needs both; but they probably also need toilet paper and computers.  I wouldn’t buy any of these items from the same company for obvious reasons.  Bottom line:  Either your MA or SEO will suffer (or both) if you buy from one  vendor.  You will save a ton of money and get much better results by choosing best of breed in each category.
  5. Your Marketing Automation product is being offered by an agency that is super proud of its “partner” status.  The translation: They have invested a ton of time and money in a solution that might not be a good fit for you.  Unfortunately, these “partner programs” dictate that they will recommend the company that they are invested in regardless of the value that it drives to your business.   If you have doubt, demand an agreement with your agency that they will not have a financial benefit from working with any software provider.  That should not only include your account, but all other account that such an agency works with.   Otherwise, the Agency may shift its dollars.

You should also avoid the “All-in-One” solutions that focus on Real Estate, Flower Shops, and Supplement Companies.  Even if you conduct business in these areas.  There are a ton of these companies that prey on Mom and Pop shops.  They advertise on Facebook and other consumer focused websites because they are looking for people that don’t have experience and won’t ask the tough questions.  Some of their users will claim success because they don’t know any better.  Others will be outraged that they were not able to achieve the required level of support, expertise and functionality for $ 200/month.

  • A solid solution provider will help you build a story.
  • Help you tie together all of the technologies that benefit your organization.
  • Create a compelling narrative that you can share with prospects.
  • Have a vested interest in your organization’s success.

If you have any questions about Marketing Automation or how your company could strengthen its efforts, I welcome your request.  Even if my company, Lead Liaison, isn’t a perfect fit for you…I’ll point you in the right direction.

Don’t wait any longer.